All-time Best Hacks for Business Optimization and Analysis
NO MATTER how great the business idea, your company won’t develop into a unicorn unless you work for it. There are many rules to keep in mind and dozens of amazing shortcuts for business optimization that lead to higher efficiency and better results.
Up next, you’ll find 11 inspiring ideas and hacks to run your business at a higher speed. By optimizing simple daily work processes and analyzing your data, you can grow your company at a significantly faster rate.
1. Uncover inefficient work processes
According to a survey, 42% of firms report that outdated, inefficient business processes and frameworks contribute to a decline in employee productivity. There’s plenty of proof that companies are slowed down by inefficient processes:
- As much as 15% of the papers handled in companies are lost due to poor management and handling.
- Most employees attend over 60 meetings every day while considering half of them unproductive.
Time-consuming meetings, team collaboration problems, and incompetent data management waste more time and resources than you’d expect. By tracking and analyzing your company’s data, you can discover the outdated processes more quickly.
2. Measure the right metrics
There are hundreds of metrics and KPIs that you can monitor with various analytics software and tools. However, you should only track actionable and informative KPIs linked with specific goals.
If you track too many KPIs, you won’t focus on the ones that truly matter.
Track those analytics that matter to your company, and check these only once a week to save time.
For example, if you run a catering business, the rate of new and returning customers is really important to you. Get a sales tracking dashboard to access all your important KPIs in a few clicks.
The six most important business metrics are:
- Sales Revenue
- Net Profit Margin
- Gross Margin
- Sales Growth Year-to-date
- Cost of Customer Acquisition
- Customer Loyalty and Retention
If you want to find out more about these KPIs, see the list of 12 business metrics.
Metrics are usually tracked on a KPI dashboard, and indicate whether your company has achieved its goals in a planned time frame. Depending on your business goals, you should track business metrics that really show how your business is doing.
3. Use fewer software and tools
This is the ultimate business optimization hack – you have to find the right software for managing a company.
Managers often use over 5 different business management software solutions. The sad thing about this is that they only use 10% of the software’s features and capabilities. Moreover, using tens of different tools is highly expensive.
If you’ve been using spreadsheets to manage all your business data, it’s time to find an Excel alternative for implementing daily business processes more efficiently.
There are a couple of easy steps you can take to improve your team’s productivity, and significantly reduce the number of tools used:
- Ask employees to make a list of tools they actually need and eliminate all the rest
- Only use tools that integrate with your reporting and business intelligence software
- Start using multi-feature software solutions* that help with multiple tasks instead of one
4. Measure the ROI
ROI (return on investment) shows how much money you spent on achieving a certain goal. Businesses always measure the ROI of ad campaigns – how big is the cost-per-click and how much does acquiring a new customer cost.
But there are so many other processes where ROI can be measured and later used for optimizing your business. For example, hiring new workers or offering free transport for your clients’ orders.
If your cost of customer acquisition is around $100 and the average lifetime value of a client is $200, you have a positive ROI. However, if it costs more to acquire a new customer than they return in purchases, you should reconsider your long-term business strategy.
5. Outsource and delegate
Whenever you want to renew your website design or have a new blog post written, it’s not necessary to hire an in-house designer or writer. Professional freelancers finish their projects on time, and they’re more experienced than most young employees that ask for a lower salary but may return a poor result.
If you work as a manager, it’s a good idea to assign some of your tasks to team members who have more specific know-how.
Don’t try to tackle all the tasks on your own. Ask for help if required.
You can use a project management tool to plan tasks and set priorities. This way, your entire team will stay more organized and on top of their work.
Everything about your business, one click away
6. Automate simple business processes
Automating simple processes saves hours of time and allows to skip repetitive and monotonous tasks. The modern business management software lets you automate almost anything – email distribution, sales, reporting… you name it.
Here are some examples of tasks that could be easily automated:
- Find mutually suitable meeting times without a lengthy email exchange with scheduling software
- Automate monthly billing to your customers with billing software
- Get automated notifications about upcoming deadlines or meetings
For the complete list of 29 business processes that you can quickly automate, see this article.
Infographic: Are Your Business Tools Killing Your Productivity?
7. Organize and attend fewer meetings
Business leaders and managers spend at least 20% of their time at meetings.
99% of companies are guilty of this rookie mistake – they hold meetings because of tradition. We attend weekly and monthly team meetings not out of need, but just because we’re used to.
Cut the number of weekly meetings to half and see how it works out. Another great business optimization hack is to have at least one meeting-free day each week when you can focus on the most important tasks without distractions.
If you want to have more effective meetings, you need to pay attention to the agenda of each meeting. Plan ahead and ask everyone to only share constructive feedback and ideas.
Learn more: 12 Proven Tips for Effective Meeting Management
8. Prioritize your tasks
Sometimes, the list of tasks in hand is just too long to complete in one day.
Start each day by listing 3 most important tasks that have to be completed at any cost, and below these add all other upcoming tasks grouped by the priority.
We at Scoro use three different colors to mark tasks based on their priority – the most important are red, medium priority tasks have a yellow marker and green symbolizes tasks of low priority.
9. Optimize your work environment
Where do you work most effectively – at your desk, sitting on a couch or staying at home? Does listening to music or snacking increase your productivity?
Learn to know your most effective working conditions and create a workspace that responds to all those requirements, leading to higher productivity.
An increasing number of testimonials hints that, in reality, working in open-plan offices decreases productivity and exhausts people with excessive noise.
The next generation of office architecture combines open floor plans, private offices, and soundproof cubicles. The new office plan mixes work with social, without either being damaged by the other.
How to improve your work environment:
- If you work with data and design programs, get yourself a monitor for higher visibility
- Make sure everyone has enough coffee and tea to keep them productive
- Go to office early in the morning as it’s silent and you’re more likely to get things done
- If noise distracts you, use earplugs or listen to music
10. Master the art of focusing
If you’re often troubled by busy office chatter and find it hard to focus, there’s no way you can perform at your best. And it gets quite annoying, right?
How can some people stay focused all day long while others struggle to get their tasks done?
Before you blame it on others, take a minute to evaluate your productivity. Are you really in the “flow” when working on your tasks?
- Plan ahead
- Create a weekly work plan
- Keep your to-do list organized
- Take small 15-minute breaks
- Turn off all distractions and notifications
11. Optimize your team’s time usage
Business optimization can be taken even further when each and every employee has the best working conditions that help to stay productive.
Companies that trust their employees to work whenever they feel most effective yield higher results.
It does require extra monitoring to see if everyone finishes their tasks on time. When one team member works 6 hours a day and another 9 hours, it doesn’t mean the former is less useful to the company. Quite the opposite – people who finish their tasks faster are more effective and work smarter.
Establish flexible working hours and remote workspace for one month, and see whether it has a positive or a negative effect on your business.
If you wish to gather data on this experiment, use a remote employee management tool to get insightful reports on every team member’s results.
Every company will benefit from optimizing and automating some of their business processes. Making smart data-driven decisions will help to significantly increase your team’s productivity and results. Start right now to see the first results in the next few weeks.